Evansville Police are ready to enforce rules of the road on an old thoroughfare with a new look. Now that the Oak Hill Road re-construction project is wrapped up, traffic is flowing faster. Perhaps it's flowing a little too fast for some. Even though the construction signs are long gone, Evansville Police want drivers to know the speed limit signs are not.
"Since it's been opened up, the fear was that people were really going to take advantage of it and fly through here," said Evansville Police Officer Nick Winsett. "I think once people get used to the signs being gone and construction workers not being around, we might see a spike in the speeds because the road is so open and so smooth."
Eyewitness News tagged along as Officer Winsett and fellow motorcycle Officer Allen Gansman as they conducted a traffic detail along Oak Hill Road. The detail was similar to the countless others the officers conducted as the road was being reconstructed over the better part of a year.
"It's not as bad right now since they've opened it up. But when they had the 20 mile per hour speed zone, it was constant," Winsett said. "I know a lot of the workers were calling in and complaining that they were afraid for their lives that they were going to be ran down by speeders coming through this area."
Now it's the neighbors living along Oak Hill who are concerned. The lanes have been widened and a bicycle lane has been added. The freshly-paved concrete provides a smooth ride, prompting concern that people might exceed the speed limit.
A half-hour into the detail, the officers had pulled over six drivers.
"It seems like every time I got set up to actually run radar, the very first vehicle I clocked was going 15 or 20 miles per hour over the speed limit today," Officer Gansman said. "Just going 15 over or 10 over amplifies your risk of getting hurt or worse."
"Personally, I think the fastest I've ever clocked someone was 55 miles per hour," Officer Winsett said. "He was actually a habitual traffic violator so he went to jail."
As much as the detail focuses on the drivers on Oak Hill, it's also about the people that live on Oak Hill.
"People thank us daily," Officer Winsett said. "Every time I'm out here, someone that lives in the neighborhood comes out and thanks me for being here."